Rainbow Gathering 1992
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests
Paonia Ranger District
Overland Reservoir, Colorado
June - July, 1992
Carol S. Howe Date: 1/21/93
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Rainbow Family of Living Light gathers annually for what they consider to be a celebration of their bond with the earth and to pray for world peace and healing. Gatherings always occur on National Forest System land; in a different state each year. Family members gathering numbers ranging from 5,000 to 35.000. Rainbow Family followers range from 'old hippies", new age followers, chronically unemployed to successful main stream society professionals. Everyone is invited and anyone is welcome. The gatherings always generate local concerns about large numbers of "different' people coming into an area, impacting local resources, leaving behind bills for the taxpayers
In 1992, the rainbow touched down at Overland Reservoir on the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest, near Paonia, Colorado. For some, it left a pot of gold. For others, they only saw the colors of the rainbow blend into one - RED. For all, it will be a major event not soon to be forgotten.
This report documents the 1992 gathering - its management, its events and its impacts. In addition, this report should serve as a handbook that can be used by future managers of Rainbow Family gatherings. Strategies that worked and recommendations to correct things that didn't work or that would improve management are also included in this report. For this reason, we dedicate this report to the managers of the future.
II- ISSUES AND CONCERNS
The prospect of 20,000 to 40,000 people coming into Delta County and living on the Forest for up to two months caused much concern. Several major issues and concerns developed. They included:
1. Social and economic impacts to the local communities .
Business owners were concerned about shoplifting, loitering and other bothersome activities that could negatively impact their business. Taxpayers were concerned about the costs incurred to manage the gathering.
2. Public health concerns.
There was concern about the water quality of Overland Reservoir, which provides irrigation and domestic water. People were concerned about the amount of human waste that would result from the gathering. There were concerns about health problems that may be brought in with such a large influx of people and how the local health care facilities would be impacted.
3. Water use. All water in the drainage where the gathering was held was owned by the Overland Ditch Company shareholders. There were concerns over the legality of the Rainbow Family using the water and if permitted to do so, who was going to pay for the estimated 1.8 - 2.0 acre feet of water this large group would use.
4. Public safety.
There were concerns about the increased traffic on Forest roads. There were concerns about increased drug traffic and other crimes that might occur.
5. Resource damage.
Rainbow Gathering 1992
There were concerns about the impact of 20,000 people on the soils, vegetation and wildlife in the Overland Reservoir area.
III - GATHERING MANAGEMENT
A. GENERAL BACKGROUND
The Rainbow Family has been gathering for 20 years. Their first gathering was near Granby Colorado, in 1972. Their return to Colorado was in celebration of their 20 year history.
The official Rainbow Family of Living Light Peace and Healing gathering runs from July 1 through July 7, however, Rainbow Family members begin to prepare the selected gathering site in early June. Numbers grow from several hundred early on, peak between 5,000 to 35,000 during the official gathering, then dwindle to a few who remain for the final site cleanup, into early August. The magnitude of the number of people and the length of stay impacts both the local communities and the managing agencies.
Past attempts by the Forest Service to manage gatherings under a permit system have been unsuccessful. The Rainbow Family is a very loosely organized group, with no official leaders or representatives. No one will sign a permit for the Family. More importantly, the existing regulation; concerning large group gatherings have been ruled to be unconstitutional, because they violate the freedom of religious expression" clause of the First Amendment ( U S. vs Israel CR-86-027-TUC C - RN! B [D .Ariz. 19861, US vs. Rainbow Family 695 F. Supp. 314 [ED. Tex. 19881). The Rainbow Family considers their gathering to be a religious observance.
The management strategy that has been developed over the past several years is one of proactive law enforcement presence and public relations efforts beginning early in the gathering build-up, combined with intensive resource and health/sanitation monitoring within the gathering. The Forest Service works closely with the Rainbow Family to achieve results similar to what would be required if the gathering occurred under an approved permit.
In the past, management of the Rainbow Gathering has been a high priority to the Forest and Region in which it occurred, during the time it occurred. Management costs incurred during the gathering were the responsibility of the host Region and Forest, resulting in reduced resources for planned projects. For the 1992 Rainbow Family gathering, partial funding for the management of this event came from the Washington Office. It is hoped that recommendations from this years gathering will result in further changes to facilitate future Rainbow Family Gatherings.
As a county agency, the first loyalty was to the long-term county residents' health; their second loyalty was to the gatherings'
short-term residents' health. The health department recognized that any health problems in the second group could affect the first group.
Four major areas of public health concern were identified: solid waste, food Services water quality and epidemiology. Staff members were assigned to monitor each area. The on site presence maintained by DCHD/CDH personnel is described under the ON SITE PRESENCE, 2. HEALTH, SAFETY & SANITATION section, below. Nine individuals spent approximately 1400 hours on the Rainbow gathering. Costs incurred by DCHD, including time, travel and supplies, came to just over $25.000
The DCHD provided the health and sanitation standards used by the Forest Service in the Operating and Safety Plans for the 1999 Rainbow Family Gathering. Colorado standards were more stringent than Federal regulations. It was felt there would be higher compliance under more stringent requirements.
The DCHD chose to take a non-invasive/non-regulatory stance in managing the gathering. They informed the Family they were there to help keep everyone healthy. They observed the situation, pointed out existing and potential health problems to the Family, provided information and supplies, and suggested improvements. Rainbow Family members are very concerned about health and safety and generally were very receptive and appreciative of the DCHD's efforts.
The time involved in managing the Rainbow gathering heavily impacted the DCHD, from June 5 through July 25. Normal duties of personnel involved with the gathering could not be completed.
C. PUBLIC INFORMATION
Rainbow Family gatherings are usually controversial and cause much local concern. Concerns are at their highest when communities first learn they will be impacted by the gathering. To reduce these concerns and dispel rumors the Forest Service employed several public information strategies.
Letters describing the Rainbow Family, the gathering and Forest Service management were sent out to the Forest mailing list. The Forest Service began working with local governments to coordinate management of the event in early June. As part of this coordinated effort, several public meetings were held. These meetings were chaired by the Delta County Commissioners and each cooperating agency presented information on their efforts. Individuals had an opportunity to ask questions and/or rent their fears/anger. These meetings were held from early June to mid July.
Initially, the Forest Public Affairs staff provided information to individuals and the media. Once the Incident Command Post was in operation, all questions were directed through the Public Affairs Of Officers PAD's) assigned to the incident. As detailed in a Public Affairs Action Plan, the Forest Service prepared a daily situation report, which was posted throughout local communities and transmitted to media and government officials.. Daily updates were also distributed to all Forest employees, so they could provide accurate information to their friends and families. A special phone line was established where people could call for current information about the gathering. A majority of the cooperating agencies distributed information through the incident public information networks, as well, which provide a single source for accurate information and reduced the chance of conflicting reports.
The PAO's also worked with the Rainbow Family to exchange information. An informative flier describing expectations and concerns was distributed to individual Family members (Appendix D). In addition, the FS assembled packets of Smokey Bear items for distribution to children at the gathering
B. INTERAGENCY COOPERATION
Successful management of a Rainbow Family gathering is not possible without the cooperation of many individuals and agencies at all levels.
At the 1991 Rainbow Family gathering in Vermont, Colorado was selected as the state for the 1992 gathering. (There was some internal controversy among Family members over whether Colorado or South Dakota was actually selected, resulting in a few people gathering in South Dakota and the majority gathering in Colorado.) In late October (1991), several Rainbow Family members met with Forest Service personnel at the Denver Regional Office, and indicated the 1992 gathering would be held in southwestern Colorado. As a result, an Advanced Planning Group was formed in the Regional twice. Their objectives were to:
a. Secure a "top priority' rating for the gathering from the Regional Forester, so that annual work programs impacted by the gathering could be renegotiated.
b. Request help from the Office of General Counsel, including legal options.
c. Recommend a basic management organization to the affected Forest Supervisors).
d. Develop a generic list of individuals, media, groups, agencies, etc. who should know about the gathering and their roles in its management.
e. Develop a strategy for media contacts, news releases. etc.
f. Keep the Regional Forester and Directors informed about gathering plans.
g. Assist the Incident Command.
Initial planning efforts focused on the Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests and surrounding areas. Personnel from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests were also involved in these initial planning sessions.
Early interagency cooperation included informing the Colorado State Patrol and potentially affected county governments of the impending gathering. Several law enforcement coordination meetings were conducted between late January and late-May. During this period, Delta County w as not considered as a potential location for the gathering and county representatives were not involved in any planning meetings.
It was not until late-May when the Rainbow Family held their Spring Council near Gunnison, Colorado that Delta County and the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests became possible hosts for the gathering. Gatherings have occurred within 50 miles of the Spring Council, in the past. This or the 1992 gathering.
The Rainbow Family began gathering at Overland Reservoir on June 4. The first official coordination meeting between the Forest Service and Delta County representatives was held June 5 Information concerning previous Rainbow gatherings, proposed Forest Service administration and interagency involvement was discussed.
Once Overland Reservoir was officially declared as the 1992 gathering location, concrete plans began to take shape. Eventually 32 different agencies/organizations were involved in the gathering management. A list of these participants and their responsibilities is in Appendix A. The efforts of the most active cooperators are described below.
Rainbow Gathering 1992
1. U.S. FOREST SERVICE (USFS)
To manage the Rainbow Family gathering, the Forest Service uses the Incident Command System. normally used in managing forest fires. This system readily lends itself to Rainbow Family gathering management, because it is designed to bring funding, supplies and skilled personnel to any location to complete a given task, then sends them back to their origins once the project is completed. Planning for the necessary personnel and resource needs for the 1992 gathering was begun early in March and April of 1992. Planning focused on southwest Colorado as the general location. Many key people with prior experience at Rainbow Gatherings were selected to work on the 1992 gathering.
Rocky Mountain Region Forest Service personnel sought legal advice from the Denver Office of General Council concerning requiring a permit for the Rainbow Family's 1992 gathering. Due to the reasons stated above, legal council recommended following the same strategy used at the previous three gatherings - coordinate with the Rainbow Family to minimize impacts, issue closure orders to meet identified criteria management objectives', work closely with State and local law enforcement, health and social services agencies.
The Forest Supervisor of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest identified the following management objectives for the 1992 Rainbow gathering soon after Overland Reservoir was selected:
Overall Management Objectives:
A. Provide for the health and safety of all.
B. Minimize any negative environmental impacts on the site.
C. Minimize any social impacts.
Specific Management Objectives
1. Provide proactive management of the 1992 gathering.
2. Take action on illegal or inappropriate activities.
3. All participants in the gathering will be treated equally. Harassment of individuals will not be tolerated.
4. Cooperate with other agencies. Provide assistance and information to help them perform their mission on and off site.
5. Maintain contact with local businesses and individuals for information sharing.
6. Ensure that adequate sanitation facilities are in place to handle expected numbers. Water quality will be monitored during and after the event.
7. Ensure environmental safeguards are available dthe site is returned to a near natural condition.
8. Cost effectiveness will be considered during the planning and incorporated in the decision process.
9. Provide for the safety of Forest Service and other agency personnel.
To help achieve these objectives, the Forest Supervisor issued five special Closure Orders prior to the influx of gathering participants. These orders prohibited
careless and reckless driving on Forest roads, camping within 150 feet of live water, camping and parking in designated areas. The Forest Service reduced health and safety hazards and lessened environmental impacts through enforcement of these closures.
Initially, Paonia Distnct personnel managed the gathering by working with the Rainbow Family in locating gathering facilities, and by cooperating with other agencies. Management authority shifted to the Incident Command Team on June 22. A total of 65 individuals were assigned to the team (47 USFS 7 BLM 3 NPS 4 Delta County Sheriffs Office, 4 Mesa County Sheriffs Office) during the gathering. The overhead team consisted of:
Deputy Incident Commander
Forest Supervisor's Representative
Planning Section Chief
Logistics Section Chief
Grounds Support Unit Leader
Operations Section Chief
Resource Operations Section Chief
Law Enforcement Team Leader
Law Enforcement Team Leader
Law Enforcement Liaison Officer
Supply Unit Leader
Communications Unit Leader
Time Unit Leader
As part of the Incident Command System, the team prepared the following plans:
Incident Action Plans were prepared periodically and contained general objectives reflecting the overall incident strategy, and specific action plans for the next operational periods.
Operating Plan outlining the responsibilities of the Rainbow Family and the Forest Service concerning transportation and parking, fire, sanitation, resource concerns, clean up and rehabilitation. The Operating Plan was posted throughout the gathering. (Appendix B)
Law Enforcement Plan defining the staffing and strategy to be used during the gathering.
Public Affairs Plan outlining the methods used to exchange information with the family, cooperating agencies and concerned public.
- Safety Plan identifying safety concerns and emergency procedures.
- Rehabilitation Plan identifying the rehabilitation needs and desired results. This plan was also posted throughout the gathering. Appendix C'
Lodging & Per Diem
Water Quality Test
2. DELTA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
The Delta County Commissioners served as liaisons between gathering managers and the local public. The County Commissioners organized their own management team of county department heads, to plan their strategy for the Rainbow Family gathering. Their main objective was to minimize the impacts to the county ( i.e. cost, services ). The Commissioners differentiated between the policy versus the management debate and focused the county's attentions on the management of the gathering.
The County Commissioners chaired weekly coordination/public meetings, cooperating agencies were involved. The first part of each meeting consisted of information sharing and coordination between the various agencies. The second half of the meeting was open to the public. All agencies reported on their management efforts. Rainbow Family members also participated in these meetings. The public was provided information and given the opportunity to ask questions and/or vent concerns. This forum did much to stop rumors and relieve local fears.
3. COLORADO STATE PATROL (CSP)
The Colorado State Patrol was informed of the Rainbow Family's intent to gather in Colorado in December, 1991. At this time, the focus was on the gathering occurring in southwest Colorado. The CSP prepared an operating plan committing troopers to the gathering area and outlining management objectives to be followed. The CSPs main objectives for the gatherings management involved a proactive response to the situation by making their presence known, to:
- Move Rainbow Family members into and out of the area with minimal impact on the local communities.
- Encourage Family members to stay at the gathering site during the gathering.
- Show Family members that rules were being enforced.
- Serve as a deterrent to crime and traffic violations.
4. DELTA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
5. COLORADO DIVISION OF WILDLIFE
incident command public affairs officer. Additionally, the CDOW worked directly with the media to have at least one article per week concerning wildlife appear in the local. papers, to help quell the rumor mill.
Thirteen different officers worked the gathering, with the majority of the load being carried by the local officers. Approximately 550 hours for a total of $13,000 of CONW resources were spent in management of the gathering.
Due to the time expended at the gathering, planned reconnaissance and data collection, as well as usual wildlife enforcement activities did not take place in the area.
6. DELTA COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
The Delta County Memorial Hospital became involved in the coordinated management effort of the 1992 Rainbow gathering in early June. The hospital's objective was to provide health services, as needed. The hospital anticipated the number of people that would likely be seen as a result of the gathering would not impact the system.
During the period the Rainbow Family was in the area, 45 individuals received medical attention at the hospital's emergency room. Most were treated for minor injuries: sprains, fractured/dislocated appendages, infected skin, severe sunburn, diarrhea. Several were treated for colds and respiratory ailments. Four persons were admitted to the hospital, one into intensive care.
Less than half of the people treated had insurance to cover the medical services received. Fifteen people had been referred by CALM Rainbow Family representatives said they would be responsible for costs incurred by people referred by CALM (Center for Alternative Living Medicine, a Rainbow Family group responsible for the health care of the family -see discussion in next chapter). The total uninsured bill was approximately $10,900. The Rainbow Family paid $300, which did not cover the total of the 15 referred patients. The Family did say they would collect and send more money later; however, no additional payments have been received by the hospital.
7. NORTH FORK AMBULANCE SERVICE
The North Fork Ambulance Service is a volunteer organization supported through local donations. It is the only ambulance service in the Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford areas, with ambulances and crews based in each of these communities. This service was heavily impacted by the Rainbow Family gathering.
Representatives of CALM and the Rainbow Family: Water, Singing on the Rocks and Red Moon Song, visited with the ambulance service prior to the main influx of Family members, to inform the service about the expected impacts. They said the ambulance service could expect one or two runs as a result of the gathering. They also said the Family would meet operating expenses (not the normal charge) for any runs authorized by the Family. The Family under represented what actually happened, in both cases.
During the gathering, the North Fork Ambulance Service completed 13 Rainbow Family related runs, transporting 16 persons to the Delta County Memorial Hospital. The Rainbow Family initiated three of these runs, while the Forest Service and DCSO initiated the remaining calls, primarily as a result of motor vehicle accidents.
10. DELTA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT (DCHD)
The Delta County Health Department was the lead agency overseeing public health and safety at the Rainbow Family gathering. The DCHD was fortunate to have a staff with longevity and credibility in the local communities, which calmed local fears. Additional personnel were requested from the Colorado Department of Health (CDH); all were local, from the Western Slope Office in Grand Junction. The DCHD Director, Bonnie Koehler, represented the health department on the Incident Command Team, at all the interagency coordination and public meetings and in all dealings with the media. She oversaw the activities of all health department staff( both DCHD and CDH) involved with gathering management.
Two management objectives were identified by the DCHD for the gathering:
- Minimize impacts to the local hospital by keeping Rainbow Family members as healthy as possible.
- Document the event photographically, both the good and the bad. (No photographic record was available for the 1992 gathering managers, making it hard to visualize the event and its impacts.)
No official media tours were conducted; however, PAO's were available for interviews. Media representatives were asked to check in with the ICP before and after visits to the gathering site so that the PAO's could answer questions and provide current status updates. Special passes allowing parking close to the gathering site were available to the media, which was a drawing card for the ICP.
There was heavy media coverage of the gathering. National coverage focused on the Rainbow Family and the gathering. Local coverage focused on the management and local concerns. Editorials were generally critical of the Forest Service and the Rainbow Family.
Several of the cooperating agencies conducted additional public information programs during the gathering. Because of wildlife related concerns, the CDOW worked directly with local media to help stop rumors. Colorado Department of Health officials visited local grocery stores and restaurants to encourage them to pay particular attention to sanitation while the Rainbow Family was in the area The Delta County Sheriff visited businesses to inform them of the large number of people that would be utilizing their services. The combined efforts of all involved provided accurate information to the public.
D. ON SITE PRESENCE
A detailed report of law enforcement activities for the 1992 Rainbow Family gathering will be prepared under separate cover. The following is a general discussion.
Law enforcement objectives for the gathering included:
- provide for safety of all law enforcement officers, other personnel assigned to the incident, and other Forest users;
- protect Forest resources and personal property;
- enforce all Federal, State and local laws, regulations and orders in a fair and firm manner;
- all Forest users will be treated equally;
- all Forest Service law enforcement personnel will fully cooperate and assist other law enforcement agencies.
-Law enforcement activities were coordinated among 16 different agencies. Eight agencies had personnel directly involved.
A total of 25 Forest Service law enforcement officers, 3 BLM, 4 Delta County Sheriff deputies and 4 Mesa County Sheriff deputies were assigned to the Incident Command Team during the period of June 13 through July 15, with officers being rotated in and out as needed. Officers provided 24-hour coverage. Deputies were paired with Forest Service law enforcement officers to provide enforcement authority for both State and County ordinances and CFR violations on all patrols. Officers generally remained outside of the main gathering, patrolling Forest roads accessing the area.
The Colorado State Patrol detailed 45 troopers to the area. They provided 24-hour coverage on all State and County roads in the vicinity of the gathering, from June 27 through July 6. CSP coverage did not extend onto the National Forest except for vehicle accidents with injuries and to provide officer assists. In addition to the increased patrols in the gathering vicinity, the CSP also conducted safety checks at venous locations.
Forest Service presence at the gathering site consisted of daily visits by command team staff. All personnel making official visits were required to be in uniform and stay in groups of at least two. Radio contact was maintained with the Incident Command Post.
Management emphasis within the gathering was concerned with human health and safety, and resource protection. Forest Service personnel worked closely with Rainbow Family members to locate suitable sites for latrines, trails, kitchens and campsites. They monitored Rainbow Family activities, noted resource impacts and rehabilitation needs, and maintained communication with Family members. Management emphasis outside the gathering area was to maintain a strong law enforcement presence.
The Incident Command Post (ICP) was established at the Paonia High School; which provided good facilities for public information contact, command staff operations, dispatching and law enforcement needs (prisoner holding and processing). It was beneficial to have all Incident Command functions in one location. All official visitors to the gathering site were required to check in at the ICP before and after the visit.
A special communications network was established for the Incident Command. Most of the required equipment had been ordered during the pregathering planning and
was available to begin setup as soon as the site was selected. To prevent interference with normal Forest operations, nine phone lines were installed for the ICP, with separate lines for public affairs, law enforcement, general communications, and a FAX machine. Six Data General terminals and a laser printer were installed. Special radio frequencies were established exclusively for the incident. Dispatching was handled from a base radio in the ICP. Three remote repeaters were installed to provide radio coverage in the gathering area.
There were several problems with radio communications during the gathering. Due to the rough terrain, some areas did not have radio coverage. Rodents chewed through coaxial cables at one repeater site, requiring additional maintenance.
Incident command staffing was highest during the main gathering (July 1-7). Approximately half the staff was released from the incident July &. Releases continued through July 1,, when the Incident Command Post was closed and the Paonia District again took over management of the Rainbow Family gathering.
Costs to the Forest Service for the 1992 Rainbow Family gathering exceeded the 1991 costs, for several reasons. The communications network required three repeaters, versus one in Vermont. Repeater sites could only be accessed by helicopter, and problems required repeated visits to the different sites. An additional person was assigned to the communications team. Road maintenance costs were incurred to eliminate safety hazards. Water quality was a more sensitive issue at this year's gathering, requiring additional testing. Lodging in the area was limited due to other events occurring in the vicinity, which necessitated additional logistics support. Building security costs were incurred due to vandalism at the ICP. The distance from the ICP to the gathering site was greater than in 1991, resulting in increased travel expenses. Two additional law enforcement personnel were added to the team; and a supervisory dispatcher, to provide relief during the 12 hour shifts. Forest Service costs are summarized below:
Total for these amounted to 3630. The Rainbow Family passed the magic hat to pay for the three authorized runs collecting $400. They also contributed approximately $75 worth of medical supplies to the ambulance service, in lieu of payment. This $475 did not cover the expenses of the three runs. Only one of the Family members transported had insurance, which has not paid. Attempts to locate other patients for billing have also been unsuccessful due to false information. The North Fork Ambulance Service sustained a loss of almost $3150.
In addition to the monetary loss, the ambulance service increased the number of crews on call, to provide additional coverage to the gathering. Crew members had to alter their regular schedules so they would be available. The service also increased the number of personnel responding to calls, sending three to five people, as needed.
8. 'North Fork MEDICAL CLINIC
The North Fork Medical Clinic is the only medical facility in the Paonia area. Water Singing on the Rocks met with Dr. Hoisington, of this office, to see what services would be supplied, if they had to be paid for, and asked if the doctor would volunteer at the gathering. The clinic is a general medical practice. Their policy was payment before services, in all but emergency cases: and the medical staff did not volunteer at the gathering.
Approximately 30 Rainbow Family members sought services at this clinic during the gathering, which was not a major impact on regular business. Half of this number had insurance, about 40% of the remaining half paid for their services, and the remainder were referred to the Delta County Memorial Hospital. The clinic treated a variety of ailments with urinary tract infections and colds being the most frequent. More serious problems went directly to the hospital.
The clinic's policy of payment before services resulted in limited costs approximately $150. Several individuals were very offended when free services were not rendered.
9. DELTA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES
The Delta County Department of Social Services is part of a State organization that facilitates Federal, State and County social assistance programs, at the county level. The Department of Social Services has a statewide contingency plan to deal with large influxes of people, which would draw on personnel and resources from other areas to meet needs in any given location. The influx of Rainbow Family members was handled smoothly and effectively by the local staff, with minimal disruption of ongoing activities.
One application for aid to family with dependent children was approved for a grant of $280 and continues to be an ongoing case. Two applications for general assistance for medical aid were approved (Total $123.00 for medication to prevent spread of disease and higher treatment cost, later.
Requests for pain killer, prescriptions, transportation and homeless shelter were denied.
A total of 159 households "individual were consolidated into families where possible) applied for Food Stamps, with 156 applications being approved. An excess of $21,000 in Food Stamps were issued. The trend in application is shown below:
June applicants were screened for participation in the Food Stamp Program in other states. A number were not approved for June, but since they applied after June 15, they were approved for July issuance. Applications were also denied for voluntarily quitting a job, not meeting income requirements and presenting a false Social Security number.
Applicants were very knowledgeable of eligibility requirements. Many individuals represented themselves as "homeless" so their Social Security numbers or previous participation could not be verified under homeless rules of the Department of Social Services. False Social Security numbers now in the Colorado System may cause problems for clients in the future.
Several options to deal with human waste were considered. use as not feasible to use porta-potties, for several reasons:
' It was not feasible to
- 200 would be needed for the anticipated crowd of 20,000. This number was not available and the cost would have been prohibitive if they were
- The porta-potties would require daily pumping. The main gathering site was located in a non-motorized restricted travel area and the potties could not have been hauled in or accessed for pumping.
The Forest Soil Scientist, assigned to the Incident Command Team as the Resource Operations Chief, reviewed available research (references listed in Appendix E) on field sanitation standards. It was determined that slit trench latrines were the accepted practice for large groups and that the Colorado State standards would protect both human health and natural resources.
The Colorado State standards used in both the Operating Plan and Safety Plan specified that the family provide one latrine for each 100 people -- 200 latrines were required for the peak of the gathering. Latrines were to be dug at least 30 inches long by 12 inches wide by 36 inches deep. They were supposed to be covered with plywood or similar material and sealed at the edges with earth, to prevent rodent or fly access. Trap doors would allow human access. Latrines were to be at least 300 feet from streams or lakes. Sanitation lime and/or wood ash was to be applied after each use, to control potential spread of disease and aid in decomposition. Latrines were to be filled in when waste was within 15 inches of the surface. Hand washing facilities (containing bleach) were to be present at each latrine.
Forest Service and DCHD personnel located and flagged desirable latrine locations; however, latrines were not always dug at these locations. Some latrines were constructed too close to kitchens and open water, and were eventually moved as a result of Forest Service and health department pressure. Many latrines were not properly covered. (Some Rainbow Family members raised the ethical concern that the glues used in plywood/waferboard hurt the ozone and they did not want to use these materials. A lack of available materials may have also been a reason for noncompliance.) No sanitation lime was available until one DCHD worker donated 150 pounds to the Family. The Family did not adequately mark latrine locations, especially in the beginning of the gathering, which resulted in some surface deposition (called "forest daisies") in some areas. DCHD brought problems to the attention of CAI~M, who would organize "Cat Patrols" to clean up areas by burying waste. The Family was slow to dig enough latrines for the anticipated crowd. The North Fork Baptist Church donated 13 shovels to the Rainbow Family on June 13, and efforts at digging latrines were stepped up.
An average of 3 latrines were dug near each kitchen and each concentrated camping area. Many latrines were larger than the required size. By the peak influx, the family probably had the required number of latrines dug; however, the problems described above continued to occur.
During the clean up effort, all evidence of surface deposition was removed and all but a few latrines in remote locales were filled in correctly.
|June||# Applications/Day||July||# Applications/Day|
|17|| 5 || 2||7|
|18 || 4 ||6||4|
| 24||17 || 10 || 1|
|25 || 13 || 13 ||3|
| 26||8 ||14|| 2|
|29|| 23||15|| 5|
|30 ||19 ||TOTAL||236|
Food services were monitored every two to three days. The Rainbow Family established 35 kitchens during the gathering. DCHD/CDH sanitarians visited all but five kitchens on a routine basis.
The sanitarians developed ''HiGene's10 Commandments of Food Safety" - 10 simple rules to cut down on food borne diseases Copy in Appendix F). These rules were written as rhymes and quickly caught on at all the kitchens.
DCHD/CDH personnel stressed the importance of boiling water to everyone they contacted, though some gathering participants argued boiling was unnecessary. The Operating and Safety Plans recommended that all drinking, cooking and wash water be created by boiling a minimum of five minutes. .~11 kitchens usually had a large pot of boiling water on the fire at all times. Testing of the four water lines the Family established to provide water to many kitchens showed all four lines were contaminated. There were no reported cases of waterborne diseases contracted during the gathering; however the Colorado Department of Health received a report of 200 confirmed cases of giardia in Oregon, in people who had visited western Colorado during the same time period as the gathering.
A three-bucket dish washing system consisting of a hot (140 degree) soapy wash, a clear hot rinse and a lukewarm chlorine rinse ( V4 cup of chlorine bleach per five gallons water) was the recommended procedure. One health department worker provided o0 5-gallon buckets to some of the kitchens, so they would be able to set up this system. (Buckets were also used for food storage.) The sanitarians always checked the chlorine rinse strength on each visit. They routinely left test paper with each kitchen so the kitchen volunteers could make sure sanitation procedures were being followed.
P>The DCHD recommended the hand washing facilities be changed from a bucket to some closed container so water would be poured over hands, rather than hands be put into a container, eliminating the risk of the wash water becoming contaminated. The Family adopted this at most kitchens and latrines.
Health standards compliance in the kitchens was good. There were no reports of food borne diseases occurring during the gathering. Health department workers found only two instances of questionable quality food and/or sanitation practices. At the kitchen near Kiddie Village, they found a large pot of beans that had been kept off temperature too long. The cook immediately disposed of the beans. At the kitchen in Bus Village, a goat was cooked and the meat was used in stew. The meat was not completely cooked, dogs were seen pulling the meat off the grill repeatedly, people shredding the meat for the stew had visibly dirty hands. CAINE was informed of the problems and the cook and similar problems were not seen in the kitchen again.
Water quality was a major issue surrounding the Rainbow Family gathering. All the water in the Overland Reservoir area belonged to the Overland Ditch Company shareholders. Water from Overland Reservoir is diverted into the Overland Ditch and is used for irrigation, livestock and domestic water.
The Overland Ditch Company shareholders where very anxious about the effects of raw human waste on themselves as they irrigated their fields and gardens. The FS resource specialists and health department sanitation experts recognized the public concern, but did not consider this a potential human health hazard, due to the minute amount of waste that would enter Overland Reservoir and the miles of ditch (approx. 20) the water would pass through before use.
To allay public concerns the DCHD and FS established a water quality monitoring program to sample water daily from eight locations "identified on map Figure 2), from June 17 through July 30. Two control sites, one upstream, one in a similar basin, and
- Giardia (Water borne disease. .ALL water in the area was assumed to be contaminated. Treat by boiling a minimum of 5 minutes.)
Fact sheets on campylobacter, shigella. salmonella, and infectious hepatitis were also passed out to all CALM units and anyone who was interested. Epidemiologists visited with CALCULI staff about aids, hepatitis and other diseases. In addition, the health department donated 11,000 condoms and o0 parasite testing kits to CACTI. Health department workers distributed many TIGRIS, to alleviate altitude sickness symptoms.
The hospital's assistant administrator, Jeannette Moore, personally visited with Rainbow Family CAL^\I representatives, to see how their medical facilities were staffed and equipped. This visit revealed the CALM units were only sufficient to deal with non-emergency and routine first aid situations. To assist the Family in treating minor injuries, the hospital provided supplies of antibacterial ointment, sterile dressings, peroxide and alcohol.
During the gathering, CALM reported two cases of hepatitis. One was documented as type A, the other was not type tested. CALM sequestered these individuals and monitored their kitchen and latrine use. CALM also treated two cases of suspected giardia.
Other problems occurring at the gathering included severe sunburn and mosquito bites . Health department workers encouraged gathering participants to used sun block, due to the intense sun at the high elevation. Many Family members were reassured when DCHD/CDH staff informed them that local mosquitoes did not transmit encephalitis. Due to the cool, wet weather that occurred during much of the gathering, these problems were not severe.
DCHD/CDH personnel also observed that head lice was a problem. Many Family members also complained of a one-day flu-like illness that occurred about July 1.
Colorado Report/Part 2